Another holiday season, another deluge of December-appropriate tunes. The Sleigher, Arts Desk’s cheery and cheeky evaluation of new holiday music, returns.
HO HO WHO: Peace activist and performance artist Yoko Ono teams up with the psychedelic space rockers of the Flaming Lips to cover this anti-war classic for an Amazon playlist. Who better to cover a Lennon/Ono classic than Yoko herself?
X MARKS THE SPOT: “So the year’s over and what have you done?” Not to make you feel inadequate or anything, but this is your friendly year-end reminder that world peace doesn’t just happen without a little help from your friends. Although not quite as intimate as John and Yoko’s whispers of “Merry Christmas” with the kiddos of the Harlem Community Choir, the Flaming Lips amp up the melody with enough synthetic sounds to blow out your newly gifted Bose speakers. Closing out the song is the Lips’ drummer, Steven Drozd, whose par-rum-pa-pum-pum puts the little drummer boy to shame.
PEACE ON MIRTH: Although it would be nice to believe that “war is over (if you want it),” the truth is that war is just passé. Gone are the days of Vietnam that Yoko and John wrote this ditty for; instead we have about 67 “ongoing armed conflicts” worldwide. Yoko’s dulcet wishes of “a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year” may reassure you, but if you’re still worried about mutual destruction and the continuation of the human race, the Flaming Lips have you covered: These funky futurists have already planned (and executed) Christmas on Mars.
CHEER FACTOR: 7/10. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” gives you all the good feels and encourages you to imagine all the people living life as one, as you roast chestnuts over an open fire. But it’s still a song about war, and there aren’t enough synthetic keyboard sounds in the world to make that merry.